Abstract

Over the last 15 years, the locus of policymaking towards asylum seekers and refugees has shifted away from national governments and towards the European Union (EU) as the Common European Asylum Policy has developed. Most of the focus has been on the harmonization of policies relating to border control, the processing of asylum claims, and reception standards for asylum seekers. But this still falls far short of a fully integrated EU-wide policy. This article examines the basis upon which a joint EU policy can be justified. I then ask whether superior outcomes can be achieved by harmonization alone or if more centralized policymaking is necessary. I chart the progress of harmonization and burden-sharing in the development of the Common European Asylum System and explore its effects. I also study the political feasibility of deeper policy integration by analysing public attitudes in the European Social Survey. I conclude that deeper integration is both desirable and politically possible. (JEL codes: F22, F53, F 55, H77, H87, J15)

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